In an effort to awaken the inner child and bring light and hope to the world, Catriona Gray colors beyond the lines of change by defining her own path, on her own terms.
The first time I saw Catriona Gray on live television, I instantly knew she was going to be a winner. Confident and bold, she was clearly something–naturally drawing people to listen closely to her every word. Fast forward to two years later, even after passing on the Miss Universe crown, she remains to stand up like a true queen unparalleled. Just the mere mention of her name automatically gives Filipinos a sense of pride because of her dedication, fierceness, and joy. Her humble conversations and articulate discourse lead the way with vulnerability and transparency, becoming ever-so-present as she expresses her full and true self.
Now, amidst the trials of a growing pandemic, Catriona Gray has been one of the positive voices on social media. With social distancing and quarantine put to effect, the means of interaction relies heavily online. Life as we know it has been altered. And as we look for a sense of hope and drive to coloring beyond the lines of change in these gray times, Louis Vuitton launched its Project Rainbow campaign and the latest chromatic Epi leather collection as a good reminder that after every storm comes a rainbow of hope.
For her MEGA collaboration with Louis Vuitton, there is a searing sense of passion in Catriona’s eyes as she is swathed in a sea of ocean-like shades blocked against stark neutrals of black and white, her hand holding the understated elegance of Louis Vuitton Epi Leather.
“I’m doing well naman. I’ve adjusted to this season, but it’s definitely been a journey,” Catriona expresses as we caught up. Between outreach programs, guest-speaking at youth seminars, and tirelessly working left and right, the beauty queen has been non-stop grinding despite the constraints of COVID-19. But like any normal human being, she too needs a boost to spark up creativity while working on her projects. She shares, “I feel really lucky to be surrounded by such a motivated and creative team, as well as amazing friends and family. They, along with my outreach work, really keep me in high spirits.”
Joy in the little things may be the one thing that will get us by–especially because the Philippines is going on its sixth month of quarantine, but Catriona shares what makes her hopeful for the future. “I’m hopeful about my self-growth during this season. Hopeful of all the generosity I’ve seen, the stories of hope and overcoming and giving that I’ve heard and experienced.”
When asked if being in quarantine taught her anything, she replies, “It taught me a lot–mostly that there’s more to life than work. Human relationships and contributing to the community really give me happiness. I feel like after we’ve overcome all of this, I will be so much more mindful of giving my time to my loved ones and to the things that fulfill me and not just burn out with work.”
Two years ago, when she was crowned Miss Universe 2018, her winning statement was about seeing the beauty in the faces of children and also finding silver linings in hard situations. As we look back to everything happening to the country and the world, I asked her if this still applies to our situation in the Philippines now. “Our vulnerable communities are in need of, not handouts, but a hand–up,” she says. “I feel really strongly that we should all make a conscious decision to support local: local businesses, farmers, and individuals. Everyone has been hit so hard by this pandemic, I hope that we will not look for the silver lining, but create one for our countrymen by supporting local.”
On the other hand, she stresses the importance of children and child-like qualities that will help us get through the season. “A child finds joy in the simplest of things and is in a state of constant wonder. I think as we get older, that carefree state of mind fades, and our lives become filled with to-do lists and expectations and comparisons. But in being present, in finding simple, uncomplicated joys in our lives, makes us see the world in a brighter light. And that’s what we really need right now. Not only to feel that wonder and happiness ourselves but to help others find it and feel it, too.”
Catriona Gray has shown honesty and activism using her platform. She not only finds the silver lining in situations, but she colors a rainbow beyond those lines, championing a powerful voice that shows how present she has been around these moments that matter to her fans. So for her final words, she talks about how important it is to make sure that your message is yours, but also choosing your battles.
“I only speak up when I feel very strongly about a topic and feel that I can either contribute, educate, or create awareness with my platforms. It’s important for me to share my voice because I really feel that’s why I have the platform that I do.”